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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  January 13, 2013 12:00am-1:15am EST

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his vice president on a tour beginning in asia continuing to the south continent. in the fall of 1953. he told the vice president he should take pat with him. she realized this trip would be work but it would be interesting. . .
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because this work is clearly a classic in my mind and that of many others. and a test of the classic is whether it remains relevant with the changing times and changing cultures. if it can do that, then it can find its way continually in the world of great folks. and certainly, this has all of the elements of it, many of them really quite strange and almost mythological, this strange matter of lionel trilling writing in the journey before "witness" comes out, book about whittaker chambers, in which literary critics find the alger hiss character, but trilling never knew alger hiss. a strange kind of pre-figuration
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there and then the images, driving all night to hide documents in a pumpkin on his farm, the old woodstock typewriter that told the figure. dipper phonic terry war blurb that richard nixon used to trap his cross-examination. these things lived in the mythological memory in our times about three weeks ago, in a little box it had appeared in new york city and manhattan. the time said photographed at a major reference to the work we are going to talk about today. and i think a classic status was enhanced by the seemingly never ending decades of controversy in
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which the defenders, alger hiss, tried to slander the author of "witness." today i want to introduce this three panelists, and this is an amazingly powerful group. leave it to them, they will take it over each making their remarks about 10 minutes and then we will open it for further discussion. elliott abrams has had a remarkable string of positions of enormous importance. i have known him going back to the early reagan years. it began my knowledge with human rights. that was really something intellectually.
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part of the convention of human rights and the state department. in charge of latin american affairs and in positions in the white house. in every case that he really always brought deeply moral and intellectual round into the work that he was doing in practice and in policy. and now, he is a truth teller in an entirely new career seems to me on an issue in the middle east and the arab-israeli problem, telling the truth where the truth is rarely to be found or if not, twisted. and i just want to give a plug to rethink the first book he did, maybe not the first good -- book called and due process, which is a classic of washington. no one should go to washington without reading that vote.
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max boot in this time when the laws of war and the strange asymmetries of warfare, the principles of strategy seem to be overwhelmed or out of date. he has become the authoritative voice on military affairs, always with amazing consistent, unquestioned integrity which is also kind of a rarity in the field, which is marked often by the politicization and score settling and his invisible armies looks like a major, major work. i haven't seen that yet and we are looking forward to that. jay nordlinger who i just met a moment ago. i think we all here realize that serious thought on international affairs requires the widest range of reference that you can't just focus on one corner of the strategic realm.
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and you see his name in the author's line, you know that you're about to get something with tremendous explanatory power and writings across and of the culture of the country and the arts, beyond the usual washingtonian -- and also great praise for finally calling to account that annual fraud, the nobel peace prize. [laughter] after his book, they call it these, no one can ever say nobel peace prize again without saying so ironically. so i'll turn it over to them, and i think we'll start we will start with elliott if that's okay. >> thank you, charlie. we first met when i was a very
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young assistant secretary trying to figure out how to get around the department of state and i got guidance into the true secrets of how the department works from charlie who was then the top assistant to secretary schultz. the secrets are very. were not going to talk about that. don't worry. i was forced to make and a couple of questions raised about "witness" and one might say more generally anti-communism are relevant today. the first place where subfor clearly gets development when we deal with the great communist power communist power of the day, china. chambers -- this is a passage i like. chambers wrote, what i had been felt for me like 30 rags. the rags wrecks itself for me where not a there communism but
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a new web in the mine, loomis shroud which has part of the spirit of man paralyzing the name of rationalism, the instinct of his soul. denying him the name of knowledge the reality of his soul and his birthright in that mystery on which new knowledge falters and shatters at every step. we now watch the soulless chinese communist party battle chinese christians, chinese buddhists, and believe that they can only offer a few more better factory jobs in port cities that will provide the answer to the chinese people's freedom. everything in that sense that chambers wrote about communism and its failures is quite admirable i think. the tougher question is the relevance of what he wrote or is
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written today with islam as some. here, the other side relies on faith and outside especially in europe, they rely some materialism. this was a struggle of the human soul chambers wrote, but we also seem to believe that the answer to islamism is simply more employment opportunities for saudi youth. we are in a sense sensitive position that we criticize the chinese leadership for having but even here on the islamic question, chambers had some interesting things to say. he wrote that quote the difference between liberalism and communism was in degree only. this question arose from a previous panel. continuing, both put their faith in man and rejected faith in god. therefore they share a common worldview. if there is a lesson here i think, chambers chambers held that we could not fight
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communism and its near relation liberalist. if he were alive i think he would say we could not fight violent islamist extremism with an ideology that is different from it in degree only and share a common worldview with it. namely, non-violent islamist extremism. if that seems obvious to you, it has not been obvious to many governments around the world. for example the government of the united kingdom which spent about a decade financing and promoting what it saw as non-violent islamist extremist groups under the theory that only they could talk and dissuade the violent extremists only to conclude in the end, about the end of the blair player period, that the shared worldview was disastrous and that obviously they should be backing anti-extremist individuals and arguments.
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the chamber story, as has been said, is not only sort of the loss of faith, but if the acceptance of faith, christianity. in the current islamist case, the analogy is not perfect. but there is an analogy. chambers was born into a faith and culture of christianity in and around new york. in his first decade of the 20th century. he did not in the end adopt some foreign religion. he adopted his own religion, that of his ancestors. similarly, we don't have to seek to have islamist convert to what is to them a foreign religion, but rather an islam of their own ancestors, one and poisoned by the extremism we associate with wahhabism and al qaeda. the problem for us is that
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christianity was very much part of western culture and something that we were knowledgeable about and suited to fight over. islam is different. is hard for our government to be effective with the struggle of that religion. i just want to also note by the way ,-com,-com ma because charlie mentioned an awful, the journey. "witness" was one of the greatest autobiographical groups on extremism. perhaps one of the greatest novels about it. and they had great political impacts in part because they were great literary works, works of art. there are some islamic works about breaking with extremism. the islamist by ed hussein, radical i -- but i don't think there are any such works that are great works of art scene from the point of
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view of literature. i believe we still await such a work. to brief final points. "witness" is written partly to awaken us to the domestic threat that we face, something that this case obviously demonstrated. one question is, is that still relevant? the threat from al qaeda or hezbollah is great but it comes from foreigners, not misguided americans. does it? should we be more concerned about the attraction of such extremist views to american citizens? finally, the old issue was often came up on the last panel, chambers pessimism. he thought he had joined the using -- the losing side. would be think that today? he wrote that within the next decades it will be decided for generations whether all mankind should be come communist, where the whole world should be free
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or start civilization as we know it completely destroyed or completely change? the collapse of the soviet union meant that the future of communism was decided, however long it takes. it will collapse in china too i think. yet, his tragic sense of life would have kept him from being pollyannaish about western civilization. societies like human beings live by faith and die when faced dicey wrote. certainly in europe you would see that faith dying. similarly he would have watched faith, in that case and communism, died in the ussr and we are seeing faith in communism die in china. what he say dying slowly in our own country while yet it turned so rightly and so much of the muslim world or would he see the extraordinary extraction of
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christianity in africa, latin america or china or evangelic -- evangelicals in our own country as a new hope. i will leave that for discussion. thank you. [applause] >> i would like to begin by quoting admiral stockdale who famously asked, who am i and i and what am i doing here? that was the very question that came to me when nathaniel invited me to sit on this panel. the first thing that occurs to me is her have to say been invited because i am the owner of a hat that looks remarkably like the one that whittaker chambers modeled on the cover of this program. [laughter] it is possible i have been invited because i'm an avid viewer of the showtime series homeland, about a jihad is trader working his way up to the
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highest levels of the u.s. government positioning himself for vice president in a way reminiscent of the mass nations of alger hiss or henry wallace. i think the more obvious reason why had been invited because nathaniel is extremely, extremely, extremely very, very, very persistent and he would not take no for an answer even though i kept explaining to him that i have very little knowledge of whittaker chambers jan having read the book when i was approximately 16 years old like many people in having been influenced by. i do not feel i'm in any way a expert on chambers. what i would like to talk about is picking up a little bit from where elliott started and i might add by the way the kind of irony that both elliott and i happened to hail from an organization the council on foreign relations that whittaker chambers nidal would have seen a site hotbed of commies but
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nevertheless the world changes. when i think of witness, what i think about is when i think of it i think not just of the fact that it is a document of great literary power, which of it is and the heart of this appeal but also the fact that it was this very potent weapon in this ideological battle against communism that was raging when it came out. it was not a weapon that was designed, funded or created by the u.s. government but nevertheless became a very powerful instrument of warfare against the appeal of communism and i'm sure it'd not elated millions of people in the united states and no doubt around the world to the appeal of communism and revealed its true face, which the communist hierarchy did so much to be -- there was of course a much larger war or ideological war, what i think more accurately can be called a political war, being waged by the u.s. government and
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by a lot of individuals including folks like norman podhoretz sitting there against the appeal of communism. i think the message that i take from that period from "witness" and not just from "witness" but many other manifestations of this struggle ,-com,-com ma whether you think about radio free europe, radio liberty, the congress for cultural freedom, dishonor magazine or for that matter, cia's secret funding provided to christian democratic parties in europe to resist communist appeals or in japan or much later on in the 1980s the efforts made by the u.s. government to fund and support solidarity to undermine the communist regime in poland or when you think about the role that was played by the u.s. government, helping to smuggle the gulag out of russia and to see it was published and received a wide audience. i think of all of that. i think there are echoes here and lessons we should learn from
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the present day for the ideological struggle we face today and is not an ideological struggle against china even though china may turn out to be our adversary in the long run. china does not really have a transcendent ideology at the moment. is really fueled a nationalism having started most of its communist ideology. when we think about ideological struggle the obvious one against the forces forces of jihadist at shamanism and i think there are lessons here from the days of "witness" that we can learn in terms of how do ways today. what was then known and what should be known again today as political warfare. since george kenan was previously invoked by his -- by his greatest explainer and student, i thought i would begin by invoking him once again from a 1948 memo he wrote on the inauguration of organized political warfare to define what i'm talking about when i say political warfare. can have a pretty good definition saying it's the
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deployment of all means headed nations command short of order to achieve its national objectives. such actions are both overt and covert. they range from such overt actions political alliance economic measures and they obviously -- obvious example being the marshall plan or by propaganda to such covert action says clandestine support and encouragement of underground resistance and hostile states. i think most of those are actually relevant today when we think i think about the great struggle going on across the muslim world between the forces of extremism and those of moderation. and i do think and i'm sure many would disagree with me, that most muslims who are quite open to the appeal of moderation. but, the moderates they think it a helping hand because they are the disadvantaged in the competition for influence against well-funded extremists who by definition, are willing to go farther and do more than moderates are typically willing to do in order to seize power.
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now when i talk about waging political warfare i don't have in mind some of the i think misguided efforts in the wake of 9/11. when for example president bush appointed an advertising executive and then a political spinmeister to run the public diplomacy section at the state department. i think we were too caught up at that point and thinking of public diplomacy is the way to sell brand america and get people to love the united states. i don't think that's really the point of this, because i don't think while it's nice to be popular and i would certainly hope everybody would love america as much as possible, i don't think that's a key to victory. i think the key to victory is empowering the forces of moderation over the forces of extremism and violence in the muslim world and their attitude towards the united states, accompanied by where they stand on the political spectrum with
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moderates being more open to alliance and cooperation with the united states or the radicals that the united states is not the key to the story for forgotten and turn them muslim struggle which we have the capacity to effectively set the margin we should try to affect it at the arches because the outcome matters vary greatly to our interest and our security even at home. my concern is that while we have done some things relevant over the course of the last decade we have not really done a good job avoiding political warfare. what we have done really well over the course the last decade is killing a bunch of radical extremist leaders. obviously, the great example being the raid that killed osama bin laden. in the course of the last decade, jsoc the special operations command which the home of the special operators seal force and so forth, headed by for many years by somebody who is now a yale professor, stan mcchrystal, has become a killing machine, kill and
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capture machine i should say although we don't do much capture because we don't have a legal framework for holding terrorist. the cia was helped along by general petraeus when he was its director and together those two organizations jsoc and the cia have been very good at killing or capturing a large number of leaders of al qaeda and various other allied organizations. i am all in favor of that and i'm not against those raids and i'm not against drone strikes. i think it's necessary but i also believe it's insufficient and the analogy that i would draw what the to a time in the campaigns we have waged in iraq and afghanistan. in iraq we were doing an excellent job of going after individual bad guys really from the start of the war up until the end. and there were notable successes to capturing saddam hussein and
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it became this amazing machine conduct king a dozen raids at night in iraq. it was really not such asian to win the war so we did some other things. so we had what would be known as a full spectrum counterinsurgency which involves more than killing and capturing enemy leaders. it involves many lines of operation and security operations. also, dealing in a limited place with some of the economic and social concerns reaching out to tribes and trying to bring them into larger structure of iraqi government. so, the kill or capture peace is essential but only one piece of a larger puzzle and if we focus on that alone i think we won't be successful in this battle going on in the muslim world. my concern right now is we favor the kill and capture peace especially in pakistan and yemen and somalia and other states. i don't think we have great
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strategies to wage political warfare and that is a gap that needs to be built and i think we can be -- we can draw lessons from the days of of the cold war as to how to do that. and the need to do that was brought home to me by a meeting i had a few years ago. i think it was in 2008 in baghdad with a fellow named i love lucy who was a very brave iraqi parliamentarian, either brave for suicidal and maybe some combination of the two, who dared to visit on a couple of occasions and thought iraq should normalize elections with israel for which sentiments face attempts to give him presents in an iraqi court. he did not however manage to stop the extremists who have tracked his sons and killed his
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two sons for his retaliation for visiting israel. he ran for parliament in one of seidin 2005 but i remember meeting with him in his living room in baghdad in 2000 where he was showing the fact that he had little money to run for re-election and little money with like-minded candidates where all the radical extremists in iraq were receiving copious funds from the quds force from the iranians and he said the iranians called him up and said how would he like $5 million or a similar amount? yes said no thank you, i'm opposed to what you stand for but there were few people in iraq that would turn down a offer like that from whatever source. would happen in iraq was the iranians basically had free run to assert their influence and we did very little to stop them, especially so in 2010. i was just talking about this with them its guy who was one of the great experts in iraq in the world who is an insider during this period. we did very little to stop them
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especially in 2010 under the obama's administration when they took a very hands-off attitude, basic a saying we are not really going to get involved in the outcome of the iraqi political debate. all week care about is having free and fair elections. to my mind, that is a mistake and it has proven to be a mistaken practice visits allowed essentially elements to seize power in iraq. it was not a mistake made by our forebears in the early days of the cold war. the true administration in the eisenhower administration did not take the attitude we don't care if communists come to power in france or italy or japan as long as they have fair elections. that's all we care about. that was not there today and that you are willing to do things such as covert funds and to those political campaigns which on some level might be seen as prejudicial to the interest of free and fair elections but they understood directly to be in the long-run interest of preserving democracy in most countries. i think we need to rethink some
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of the self-imposed checks we put on our behavior today where we are terrified of having the cia for example be involved in covert findings and elements in the muslim world in part for some good reasons because we are rightly concerned that the cia involvement is almost impossible to keep sick and in today's world with wikileaks. but, unfortunately our enemy show no such self-imposed limits on a rainy and and qataris or others are out there practicing active dollar diplomacy for interests that are not congruent with their own and i feel we are standing on the sidelines. this is just one example of many of how i think we are failing to wage political warfare no i only have time within this short limitation here today to offer too many other recommendations but i think we do need to do more beyond what groups like the international republican
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institute and national endowment for for democracy set up by ronald reagan in 1983. there's room to do much more than what they are doing including things like for example freeing the u.s. agencies from the shackles of the state department where currently resides to be much more of a proactive champion of views that we should be championing that i think is the case today. also doing things like increasing language training for officers in the state department, the cia and others allowing them to stay in countries for longer periods of time and allowing them to get this nitty-gritty sense of what's going on in the areas and how to affect them in a way which is hard to do with the constant rotations which go on today. again, don't have time to spell this out in much detail here but i think the big message that i want to leave you with is that we did know how to wage political warfare in the days of the cold war. it's not easy to do today but i think it's possible to do and i think we need to voice it again. for a start, we can start by
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resuscitating the term political warfare in recognizirecognizi ng its utility in the struggle against jihadist extremism. [applause] >> well, i don't have a hat. i have a tie given me by the organizers from j. chris. i've never felt more yell like in my life and appreciated. max boot is the director of her restored usia. elliott abrams should be secretary of state but we will have to wait for brighter times. i have jotted down a series of points i wish to make or observations and in the interest of getting them all and, don't think that will bother stitching them together too much. in other words it will be exactly like my web column.
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i wish to say that i dabble in communism and anti-communism, past and present. i will give you an example of the past. my next piece in the "national review" is sort of a profile of the widow of the writer who was very very busy heading vessels shaneese the archive which is a huge project as you can imagine. and so my piece is a historical piece in a way, but of course endless. relevance and i were quite a bit with cuban exiles, chinese exiles on issues of cuban and chinese human rights and democracy. i do a lot of this and sometimes in fact often people ask me why, why this great interest in cuba and china? i should do more about north korea and vietnam, laos and a paul, the remaining communist
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states. china has a lot of people in. communism is not a thing of the past but a very serious problem of the present. they ask, why do you spend so much time? one answer is that it's right to do an interesting and satisfying to do but another answer is that very few do it. you have a field almost to yourself. i think it's less true now than when i started to say that 15 years ago, but if a palestinian kids falls in and skinned his knee you read about in "the new york times" but you can be tortured to death in cuba or the north korean gulag and no one will ever find out about it. when i was coming-of-age, when i was a college student there was a lot of yapping about human rights some of it quite good but i will tell you what they people around b primary. they meant human rights and pinochet's chile, marcos's philippines and above all a part
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tied south africa. that was a great cause, great human rights cause, great moral cause about time. i knew who the players as south africa were very well and the names of political prisoners. i knew the political actors. i think i knew the politics of south africa better than i did the politics of my hometown. there was great concentration on south africa. they were banned from the olympics for many many years. in the meantime the mall and picked for held in moscow, etc.. a couple of boards about cuba and a relative indifference to the suffering of cubans, ordinary cubans but also the dissidents, people who starve themselves for death and hunger strikes. why did they go to these extremes? i have spoken to a great many people about this problem, our indifference to cuba and one of the most painful phenomena of our times. there are many people that i think of one in particular, a
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man on the cover of time and "newsweek" and is still on the cover of time and "newsweek." there are to be songs about him, poetry, movies, movies of the of the week and they have to be on 60 minutes every other week. a man named oscar%. he he is a heroic and brave man, and inspiring man, a practitioner of nonviolence. he was in the cuban gulag as i don't blush to call it, for 12 years and got out last year. a interviewed and tribute him as soon as i could. he's a follower of gandhi and martin luther king. he is just perfect. he is even black but no one cares. no one knows who oscar processes and they stand on opposite sides of the great divide shake a bar and ask her present. he is someone who ought to win the nobel priest price. he could give it to the ladies in white. their wives, sisters and daughters of political prisoners
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caught up in the so-called black spring. and wonderful group. they were beaten severely for what they did. they hold candlelight vigils and the like and the state just can't stand it. it makes things very difficult for them. marco valladares who is still known by some of us is the cuban solzhenitsyn. he said the cuban dictatorship were right-wing instead of left-wing we would have won to nobel prizes already. a quick point about cuba. i was saying the other day in the office to the objection of some of my colleagues, that the left if i may so often sets the agenda. they determine what we talked about. even if people like us disagree they determine what we talked about. elliott abrams knows plenty about him, he's been a hostage
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in cuba for about three years. in fact i think it will be three years next month which is tomorrow. he is not just an ordinary american schmo in cuba, not some hippie traveler. he is an official or quasi-official aid worker, a contract worker. he has been a hostage of this dictatorship 90,000 are sure for three years. very very little attention. it is a puzzling and painful phenomenon. quick word about china. i think henry kissinger said some years ago the chinese communist party is something like mexico and that -- the pri. that may be but i'm reminded very often certainly by what i received in my e-mail that still for all these changes let's face it, a one-party dictatorship with a gulag. in the west this word is not famous.
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solzhenitsyn made the word gulag famous. is an acronym in lisa's fellow with all capital letters and then it got more normalized with a capital g and lowercase letters. it is a chinese the chinese gulag and there are people particularly who are tortured to death in the system. certain every week if not every day in china there are serious allegations and i believe them of organ harvesting. this is a huge story and the world is relatively indifferent. i would call something that robert conquest said, people find out about these things later in seau shocking no one said anything. not true. there are those who say things now and even gandhi is the foremost english-speaking expert on this issue of organ harvesting in china. and i think he is the kind of profit or early truth teller. william henry chamberlin type
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with the truth about the soviet union played that before was cool. if it's cool today, how about the stance of the world on china and of little taiwan this plucky democracy. is a true liberal democracy putting aside the idea that liberal democracy in asia are incompatible. south korea and other people up at the lie to it. the world economic forum, pretty big deal world of pooh bus made in january. everybody is there, the good, the bad and the different. at my time at davos i have seen representatives of saddam hussein's regime and certainly of the mullah regime in tehran. i sat next to the foreign minister once. that was kind of a creepy experience but guess who is missing? taiwan. the democratdemocrat s of taiwan are not invited because china would be upset. we have more interest in china and hillary clinton said of her
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beginning of secretary of state in february of 2009 the human rights ethical and that runner because there were more pressing concerns like a quote climate change. that may be so, that maybe so, human rights are not the be-all and end-all of foreign-policy. it's hard to get that s out, elliott abrams state department but i'm reminded of something -- cassette. is talking about western western policymakers and he said you know do it you have got to do but every once in a while ask yourself this question. how would it look to the voice in the camps to find out about things? how would it look to them what you are doing? you remember sharansky having bible readings with a fellow prisoner of his, christian for a while when it was allowed. he called their ratings, their session reaganite ratings because they had heard somehow that reagan had proclaimed in
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1983 the year of the bible. we know the year of the bible, some stupid mother and apple pie. give me a break. it really meant something to those two and something like the nobel peace committee did after 60 years of passing over chinese democrats and human rights actors dissidents and prisoners after 60 years they gave the peace prize to a leader of charter 08 sean bo who sits in prison today. imagine that, the a nobel peace laureate sitting in prison and president obama the other day hailed the spirit of cooperation between the night states in china. abe there's an argument for that but these two guys are nobel peace laureates, and there ought to be some -- another thing about china, in
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2010 we did not have human rights talks with china. we are a liberal democracy and they are one-party dictatorship at the gulag. we held human rights talks with them and afterword, after one session, the president questions for our guys. as assistant secretary of state named michael posner. i think he is assistant secretary of state for democracy or something like that. in the press said, talks with the chinese communists to torture tibetans and others every single day. archive the press said they are some immigration law? if he did come up, did you bring it up or did they? posner said we did, early and often. early and often to show that we too have problems in our society. this is what we used to call the the battle phase of the war of the criminalist. it is not gone. the final remarks. did you see this video that a
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public university in new jersey denied the soviet union had ever killed anybody? he wrote a book called khrushchev lied, and other other were sliding the secret speech when he said stalin liquidated a few communist officials. it was a blockbuster thing but didn't own up to all that much. i believe in academic freedom but -- [laughter] would we have a holocaust denier on the faculty? really? i wonder. before i mention bob conquest. he said in an interview with me a few years ago there remains a feeling of let's not be too rude to stalin. don't let's be too rude to stalin. he was a bad guy, yes. america has has a ' two and so does the brownish empire. an apologist for soviet communists, style and the
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recipient of 53 honorary degrees. lob conquest who told the truth about the soviet union 11 honorary degree from a delphi university run by a sadly corrupt president who admired bob. that says something about academia and says something about the world. did you see this poster from the e.u.? showing all the symbols of europe? it showed a cross, the star of david and the muslim crescent and so on and the hammer and sickle. there is an outcry from the lithuanians and i asked why does it take the lithuanians ,-com,-com ma why aren't we in the west sympathetic enough to sufferers persecuted under communism to object ourselves? why leave it to these folks but there it was. i am fairly relaxed about these common symbols. if you see a guy with the ccc piece white shirt and you see
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these trinkets and hammers and sickles and so on. i once did a study of this, simple magazine piece, and some people say it's proof that we weren't that we can mock that. is just kind of funny. you don't see swastikas and he don't see pictures of goering on t-shirts and you don't have people say it's just a t-shirt. daniels points out che guevara only took one good picture in his life. he looks like a movie star in the picture. he got his cheekbones just right but other pictures he wasn't that much really, honestly. this is all regarded in chambers really. he was a witness and a truth teller and it was really really hard for him to forsake not popular approval, to pursue it the approval of the people it mattered, his colleagues in
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journalism and what might call the liberal establishment. that is very hard thing to do, to give that get that up and to be reviled by all the right people. he had tremendous -- and i think he couldn't stand not to tell the truth. the truth simply nodded him until he had to get it out. the same was true of solzhenitsyn who was never communists so he was on my chambers in that sense but he said constantly live not by lies. i have a favorite story about the difficulty of standing up to receive opinion in fashion and it comes from a supplier of a great many of my best stories, norman podhoretz. if i mess it up i hope you will correct me but it's a story about joseph rocky. i think in england they would say brodsky was a great guy and said that to the kgb. why can he stand up to susan sontag and the new york intellectuals?
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you have to understand norm it's far easier than standing up to new york intellectuals. people admire if you stand up to the kgb. they won't admire you if you stand up to new york intellectuals and besides you will not win the nobel prize. a final comment about god who has been mentioned a few times today. interesting you mention god here at yale. i am pleased about that. this talk about god reminded me of another solzhenitsyn story. esa doors end of his life and even more dusty place than this in the buckingham palace. he said when i was growing up, he was born in 1919 and he was really an intellectual kid. he was a math and you know before he was a writer. he was quite a mathematician. he was an intellectual kid.
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1919 he is born so he has a boy in the 1920s, older in the 1930s and he said all the people around him by which might've meant people in their 40s and 50's, all the old people around me are simpleminded people. this all happened beaming this catastrophe of bolshevism and poverty. people have forgotten god. give me a break. this is superstitious country folk. so he studied the soviet union for decades and lived in the soviet union for decades in the camp sent out. he was the foremost writer about the soviet union and the gulag archipelago and so on. he said towards the end of his life, you know you can't prove what those old people said, those simpletons around me when i was a kid. this happened because we have forgotten god then he might say how about the jihadist? they think a lot of god too.
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these issues are very slippery. and i must say how grateful i am to be here at this symposium with these colleagues. thank you. [applause] speeches briefly before opening it to questions, further to what i heard jay nordlinger say, chambers, the title of trilling's novel is referenced to the first sentence of dante's -- [inaudible] and in dante, you get one picture after another of the people that on earth surrounded dante. and a picture of one zeno
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hypocritical person after another. the surrounding climate of opinion bear in italy at the time. and i think that is so telling in terms of witness to whittaker chambers, a great vote. that is the tone i get out of the book, almost more importantly thing else and that is that he was living in a time of the culture and opinion that swirled around him, that didn't believe him, didn't see these things and could not grasp them, could not believe that this person could have challenged someone like alger hiss. it was a foreign ideology that had come into america. it came in the 1930s in the 1940s and 1950s and then the cold war. it was one which underneath it
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all said everything in civilization with was illegitimate, fraudulent, rejects authority and you had to swim in that. that that is what whittaker chambers had to do. then he came back in the 1960s through the new left which was the neo-marxist revitalization of this and again, roger kimball, the long march. that the second time round got into the intellectual bloodstream of the intelligentsia in america and it's now been several student generations, a lot of generations that have been swimming in that stuff. it's all around us now. that to me is one of the major feelings i have when i think back on my reading of "witness."
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>> thank you. i have an observation. i have been to interviews of over the last three or four weeks with members of -- group of federal and state7 officials with the fbi, homeland security and secret service and agents who fight tears and. they have pretty well figured out a qaeda domestically in terms of violence and it's pretty unlikely with the exception of small bombing that anything large would have been. but to say they don't have a handle on the infiltration going on by al qaeda through domestic intelligence agencies and the defense department so on. what they tell me as al qaeda has pretty well figured out, and the other islamist terrorist, they can't be the west by blowing us up but they will have
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two use use the taxes that the soviets use against us in 1930s and 40s. in fact as you go on the msha and i would challenge you that, google with the left said about challenges to the infiltration of islamic terrorism into america. what what you find his is ridiculed. you will recall when several members of congress raised the issue of hillary clinton's top aides mullah of the dean having islamic connections and that in fact told me that you cannot even get the question of infiltration by islamic7 terrorism into american institutions passed and we are basically saying yes in the time of alger hiss.
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comments? >> anti-communism was considered rude, prudish, disrespect double and facts members of the rotary for example would raise that point. national view -- -- national review was anti-communist. >> there were differences i would say and one is that the case was made during the 1930s and 1940s certainly that communism was good for america and we have this wonderful ally in uncle joe stalin. you can't make the case that al qaeda is good for america. and nobody is making that case. so it is not the same as being a member of was at one point was  public movement and was than a movement that had areawide
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support in parts of the intelligentsia. that is not true of algó qaeda. so it's different in the sense that what you are doing is, if this isíó correct, it ample training individuals into positions and homeland yourx favorite show -- >> i don't think it's an american word. >> i'm not sure about the analogy.ç how much of a problem this is. i really don't know. >> i am scared to all that there's a huge a qaeda infiltration of united states government. i think it's really a problem primarily of the muslim world where they are able not just a qaeda for groups like hezbollah and you know lashkar-e-taiba and
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the pakistani taliban and many others and the islamic maghreb and many other groups which basically take advantage of chaos and lack of strong institutions to promote their extremism and there is obviously a lot of chaos and a lot of collapse of institutions around the greater middle east right now because of the arab spring. so i think this is really where this battle is going to be fought or grandpa gets primarily a battle on the home front. on the home front the dangerous events not carried out from within the u.s. government but certainly lower-level people who can ample trigger defenses and we have to be worried about this. again i'm doubtful there are too many muslims in the top echelon for the usg. >> i want to go back to something that jay was saying about criminal warfare and the
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state department. i don't think that is the key problem. i think the key problem is the view which is very popular in the united states including united states government, that the islamists, not a qaeda is the way to the future. it is the authentic voice of the muslim world in america which is the ultimate push and it reminds me of the old days in latin america when the carter administration thought that the way to the future was the authentic voice of the people was groups like the sandinistas in el salvadoran how do we know they are fended? they hated america. and so you see the refusal to engage in political warfare in places like egypt, where you know, 48% of the people voted against mohamed morsi for president.
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right now, today, this week, there are thousands of egyptians in the streets protesting. the state department said expressed concern of the constitutional coup a few days ago, concern which is the weakest word in the state department lexicon. might vary is to have these people in their countries who do fight for democracy and moderation in the rule of law and they are fighting and they are going to have it up -- tough struggle. we are not going to support them officially. the islamists are the authentic voice of the youth and the wave of the future. >> elliott makes one of my very favorite points. i i think were all too careless with that word today. i will illustrate what i mean. it blows of the market outside of afghan people say you see, they don't want us there.
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day, day, day you see, don't want us there but they have a lot of people and we shouldn't forget those others. and let me make just a semi-flippant point about the hillary clinton aide. i always thought that one of salt term was she was married to anthony weiner, the former congressman and that is one heck of a trip. [laughter] >> i think to continue with what elliott was saying -- [laughter] if there are other questions, let's take them. see you saved me a lot of effort.
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then i will add onto what elliott was saying in response to the question.sç >> here we have one. >> i wondered if he would talk about the initial battle age-old battle between liberty andks tyranny, and you know to use an old phrase, hearts and minds, that liberty lives in the hearts and minds of the people who want tos be free. and i wondered if you could comment a little bit on how beliefc in god or maybe respect for creation nor the mystery of creation relates to the discourse that you have been describing? [laughter] after you, alphonse. >> i have to think about that before i can add on. it's like peking duck, it requires 24 hours notice. [laughter]
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what you do is your best and you give people behind various iron curtain's courage. you let them know they are supportive. even if they can't speak up in their time and place, you give them support regardless and you may find out who you have reached later, after walls come down. the things that robert conquest got in the former soviet union when he got there, guiteau many stores about this but my favorite story is knew he was there and walked up to him on the street and without saying a word handed him a rose and walked away. this man just knew he was conquest. richard pipes has had similar experiences and i believe in the middle east name site bernard lewis will be greatly honored and other names we can think of in the middle east studies will be greatly dishonored. ..
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>> that is going on. and samuel is wrong it is not a war of culture but within a culture and the muslim culture for those of
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different and traditions of what is long commands. there aren't radical extremists but they do not win their way to the ballot box but to violence with power and done point*. then uc like in egypt of war see government to make it hard to be picked from power. but as alluded to earlier, hundreds of thousands of rallying but the muslim brotherhood won the election. that was held fair and square but there was a opposition of the muslim brotherhood with the at the end peal of imposing sharia
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law but on the bread and butter appeal to get people back to work tapping into daily concerns and unfortunately you have situations for extremist groups where you don't have the strong push back. we and our allies need to provide support to the brave liberals and moderates hoodoo want to push back but made the tools to do so. >> i think it goes to the idea with the concept of privacy judeo christian approach that each
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individual has a show. that is the basis of the quality. how strong you are, how bright or how rich, if that is the case you have to have liberty because there is nothing like that decision but that is the source of liberty from religion. with the ideology takes over the regime then it erases the individuality of the soul. we have time for one last question.
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>> i will rely on you to give precision to my question. there is say continuity in the issues that chambers is experiencing today and it was not an issue of people believing him but to downplay the significance of what he said. the professor talks about putting on the back stages of "the new york times" but not disbelief but the emphasis on a bombing in baghdad and the same thing
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like susan rice and been gauzy. maybe she did it but it is not important. how do we prioritize information to make sure we see if the world correctly? is suicide that is an issue that is relevant then and now. >> one piece of good news people have become very interest in the middle east in never were before. in 1916 there were very little people and to see if there is ever such interest he said no. that is good news.
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by the way there are the media research institute and a group that lets you know, what is being said and put the sermon and a mosque are in school curriculum, entertainment television they shine a light on the middle east. now we don't have to rely on just a few sources or outlets. many people have been struck by curiosity. one independent journalist has devoted his life to find out. it is because of necessity. he did not ask for it is used to be very few people knew. who thought about the kurds?
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we used to know lot about south africa now the knowledge has faded. at least with me know the semi experts, who knows? >> so what you say is be screen information. the first answer is stop reading "the new york times." [laughter] which much more than they used to because there is an effort to say what it is important that there is not an answer. it is hard to get people to
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jump out of the liberal left in view of the world. except over a long period of time with kovno to dissidents. it is easier now that the state department work stopped at 6:30 p.m. to watch walter cronkite and tom brokaw of their interpretation was critical for the u.s. government like "time" magazine and "newsweek." now we have many more news broadcast and the internet. if we could just get rid of "the new york times". [laughter] we would be 25 percent salt. i am serious.
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so to look at it how to understand the world. >> host: please join me to thank our panelists. [applause] >> wearier with the author of assignment to help. why during world war ii? period they made an incredible contribution to journalism that came after the war. all five of these guys made a profound contribution to the journalism that defined our childhood look they
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became so noted with their work with cbs to define pri journalism first at the tribune that the times. there is a cop -- column criticizing the role of the press in post new york and how boyo when he retired had more words from the wire service than any other in history. >> host: they were all insubordinate? >> they were together. cronkite and rooney cover the air war against nazi germany when that was the only meaningful action against hitler. december 1942 through the next year, connecticut --
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cronkite and rene were together almost every day covering the of bomber boy is. among the first handful of reporters to fly along on the b-17 bombing mission that they did february 1943. three of the charter members of the fraternity of of reporters trained by 88th airborne to fly on the bombing mission. >> host: how much journalism experience to they have? >> what's behind the ears they were basically the guy but boiled just tell a little bit more experience. rooney had never written a real news article in his life before he joined stars and stripes.
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he was day metro desk reporter for the new york herald tribune that had nat -- not distinguished himself in the only one with real credentials was a.j. even he was a failed newspaperman he was writing essays but all found themselves and defined journalism for america. >> if more established would they be in the theater? >> yes. for the most part those who were assigned were young like walter cronkite. there were some experience reporters as well. but the way they could capture as part of the greatest moral crusade in history.
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>> host: if you look at the battery of cronkite and he was in vietnam did will work to shape their careers? >> the reason he did go to vietnam is the experience role or to and korea from the front lines. after the tet offensive in 1968 and cronkite concluded the war was not winnable it was hard to do not remember why people were fighting and dying a cave period residents he knew he had a bully pulpit and use it sparingly but he used it for vietnam
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